The Respectful Traveller’s Guide To Zimbabwean Culture

We all know that travelling to a different country is an amazing and beautiful experience. The memories you will make last a lifetime, and the best way to fossilise your journey is by learning about the ins and outs of the culture in that country. Respecting someone’s culture to the best of your ability will allow you to have a fuller experience and feel more welcomed by the locals.

When you stay at the available accommodation in Harare, it would be helpful to have a small breakdown of do’s and don’ts and how best to respect the people of Zimbabwe. Here are some tips and tricks on how to respect and commemorate the culture. 

Greeting Graciously

A helpful tip, and a great first move, is to always greet an individual who is older than you first. They may not greet you, but this is not an insult; they may merely be waiting for you to initiate the conversation. You may also lower yourself slightly in comparison to the elder individual you engage with as a sign of utmost respect. Do not utilise someone’s first name until they have given you permission to do so. Using a title such as Miss, Mrs or Mr is acceptable until you are invited to call them something less formal. You must also remember to stand up to greet people when they enter a room. This will show the respect that you have for them. 


The main African languages spoken in Zimbabwe are Shona and Ndebele. However, there is a huge variety of African languages that the locals engage in and communicate with. English will be spoken by a number of people within the community. However, make an effort to try to learn as many phrases and commonly used words as possible, like greetings and functions. This will help you communicate effectively and show your interest and respect for the local language and culture. 

Gestures And Dress Code

It is important to give and receive different items with both of your hands together and open. This can be seen as a sign of gratitude. When it comes to dressing respectfully, it is best to avoid wearing short dresses or skirts or showing a large amount of skin. Skirts or dresses should reach the knee, and shoulders should remain covered. Hats must be taken off when inside a building.

These brief tips and educational points may help you understand and enhance your general interactions with the colourful and culturally rich nation of Zimbabwe. All that’s left is to book your accommodation in Harare. Contact us at Willow Lodge at +263 (0) 77 5214 183 for a luxurious experience and personalised assistance during your stay.